Sophomore year is a tricky time. You’re not the youngest anymore – you know your way around the campus and the high school life. You’re also not close to graduating yet, so those college apps aren’t piling up on your desk causing you or your parents added stress. You’re the best part of the high school Oreo – you’re right in the middle. Mmmmm, Oreos…
Sophomore year might best be described as a year of opportunity. This year you have the opportunity to become who you are, who God designed you to be (Jer. 1:4-8). This year offers you all new ways to really make an impact on the school, in other peoples’ lives and in your own faith walk. If, perhaps, you made some stupid decisions (academically) or bad choices (socially) during your freshman year, this is the time to redefine the kind of student and person you are and intend to be.
God created you to do great things (Eph. 2:10). You are not designed for mediocrity but for excellence. You’re not a kid anymore (1 Cor. 13:11) – so don’t act like one. Have fun and be childlike (Mk 10:14-16) but don’t be childish (1 Cor. 14:20). Sophomore year is when you can really distance yourself from the rest of your peers and walk more closely with Christ.
Be More Present
Don’t waste this year waiting for next year. You can’t get a driver’s license or car simply by will; it will all come in time. In the meantime, be present to your sophomore year experience. Enjoy this time of your life. Each year to follow will bring new challenges and added responsibilities. The best way to really become present is through prayer – especially Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Try to arrange your schedule so that you can get to the chapel/church at least once a week for some time in front of Jesus in the Eucharist. The more you develop this area of your prayer life now the better off you’re going to be in a year or two when discerning where to go to college or your future vocation. Be present to the God of the universe, Who is always present to you in the Eucharist (Mt 28:20)
Become More Disciplined
Virtues are born out of habits and habits come from being more disciplined. If you’re a messy or “scattered” person, begin with your room. Cleaning, washing and folding laundry, making your bed… all of these small “disciplines” can become forms of prayer if properly approached. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier so you can get up earlier and spend some time with the Lord before you encounter the world. Being more prayerful will make you more joyful, more peaceful and generally a whole lot more fun to be around.
Get Out There
If you want to try new things, now is the time. Go out for a sport. Join a club. Audition for a production. Any and all of these activities will not only expand your social circle and introduce you to a wider pool of friends but each experience (whether or not you make a team or get the part) will develop your character in ways you cannot do sitting on the couch.
Set Personal Goals
Write out a list of things you want to accomplish between now and next June. Put that list somewhere you’ll see it frequently. Some ideas might be:
- Invite one new person to Church each Sunday.
- Learn a new skill like guitar or sign language or yodeling (or not)
- Cut the number of text messages you send in half
- Call your grandparents every month and ask how they are doing
- If you have (or get) a car – clean it out every single weekend
- Fast from television each day until all of your homework is done.
- Study more about Church teachings you struggle with or that confuse you.
- Start on papers when you get the assignment, not the night before its due.
- Affirm your parents and siblings at least once a week (if not every day).
- Pray a rosary at least once a week – even better if you invite others to pray it with you.
- Make all your Christmas gifts.
The reason we don’t accomplish more is that we usually don’t take the time to write our dreams out on paper – but the Bible says we should (Hab. 2:2). Remember, a goal is just a dream with a deadline.
Finally, don’t forget to laugh. The word “sophomore” literally means “wise fool.” If you’re smart enough to admit you don’t know it all – and to laugh at yourself often – this year will be the best of your life so far.